75,000 filling their lungs with nature’s own sunshine
May 27, 2020 2:32 PM   Subscribe

Just how many people are in this random picture in the 1940 film, "The Great McGinty"? It takes a bit of research.
posted by Chrysostom (12 comments total) 17 users marked this as a favorite
 
This is some truly impressive nerdery. Thank you for posting it.
posted by LobsterMitten at 2:51 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


I love this so much. Thank you.
posted by gemmy at 3:07 PM on May 27


This is great! If you enjoy this kind of photo-detective work, you will absolutely love Believing Is Seeing: Observations on the Mysteries of Photography by Errol Morris. It's just like this, except with Crimean War cannonballs instead of baseballs.
posted by oulipian at 3:11 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


The reported attendance was the total number of people who paid to attend, not the total number of people in the park.

Wait...sooooo, in 1928 one could get into Yankee Stadium to watch a World Series game without paying? Did they just let people stand in the aisles?
posted by Thorzdad at 3:20 PM on May 27


2000 70,000 people in a seething, roaring, shouting mass
posted by Monochrome at 3:32 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


That is world-class baseball nerdery!
posted by tavella at 3:37 PM on May 27


> Wait...sooooo, in 1928 one could get into Yankee Stadium to watch a World Series game without paying? Did they just let people stand in the aisles?

The concession people, cleanup crews, and (if there were any) security did not pay to get in.
posted by ardgedee at 3:47 PM on May 27 [1 favorite]


Wait...sooooo, in 1928 one could get into Yankee Stadium to watch a World Series game without paying? Did they just let people stand in the aisles?

Paid attendance doesn’t include staff, vendors, various complimentary tickets, and of course, people who sneak in. And yeah, fire codes were... less of a thing.
posted by Etrigan at 3:48 PM on May 27


2000 70,000 people in a seething, roaring, shouting mass

All the people I know are musicians. /derail

That's my kind of research.
posted by fedward at 5:55 PM on May 27 [3 favorites]


I thought they were trying to find out how many people were in the photograph, not how many people were in attendance at the game. This is super great detective work and I was fascinated the whole way, but they didn't answer the actual question. Why come this far and not stick the landing?
posted by scrowdid at 7:38 PM on May 27 [2 favorites]


Heh. One of the perils of baseball geekdom is in seeing a game or score highlighted in a movie and then getting the urge to see if it was a real game and, if so, when it occurred. After watching Ozu's Autumn Afternoon I spent the better part of a day trying to track down whether the game briefly broadcast in the movie was real.

Turns out it appears to be so. Seeming to take place on August 15th 1962 at Kawasaki Stadium, then home of the Taiyō Whales, who are shown at bat in the bottom of the fourth inning with their thirdbaseman Takeshi Kuwata at bat. The thing that suggests that date is that the pitcher, "Bucky" as named in the broadcast, is Gene Bacque, who was known as "Bucky" in Japan. 1962 was his first season in the NPB and he only pitched in eight games of which only one was against the Whales, if my Kanji matching is correct. It's the only game Bacque lasted more than four innings, getting the start and going seven.

Finding game logs wasn't easy, it's only this site that still has Bacque's 1962 NPB games broken down by appearance, at least that I could find by searching in English and google translated Japanese. Since Autumn Afternoon was released in November of '62 and Bacque didn't play in the NPB before August of that year, it appears this has to be the game and date. Which makes the title of the movie a bit of a fib, since mid-August isn't quite an Autumn Afternoon.

An interesting little side tidbit that I gained from the search is that the shot of the lights Ozu uses to establish the stadium perhaps had some added interest or recognition for Japanese baseball fans as the lighting was changed in May of 1961 by Toshiba using a "cocktail beam" effect of three different types of searchlights to provide a near daylight effect on the field, making it the brightest night field in Japan at over 2,000 lux, again according a translated Japanese wiki page. (Since I can't read the originals, please feel free to correct me on any details if you can since getting these things right is what baseball geekdom is all about.)
posted by gusottertrout at 6:37 AM on May 28 [3 favorites]


Oh, and the character in the movie didn't lie when he said it was a crucial series, the Taiyō Whales and Hanshin Tigers were neck and neck until late September when the Tigers won out and the Whales hit a losing streak dropping four games back and giving the Tigers the pennant. An August game between the two squads would have been a must see for a serious fan.
posted by gusottertrout at 6:49 AM on May 28 [1 favorite]


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